the critic

Discussion in 'Writers Forum' started by kitty fabulous, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. kitty fabulous

    kitty fabulous smoked tofu

    i'm sure most if not all of us here have had to face down this bastard. i'm not talking about the well-meaning friend who doesn't understand where your plot is going or the parent who shows just how much they don't understand you buy glancing at your poem & asking "but what is it trying to say?" or even the high school teacher you had who hated everything you wrote and never gave you a grade above C no matter what. no way, i'm talking about the Critic, the evil little gremlin that lives in your head and whispers things like, "what makes you think you can be a writer?" "who do you think you are to try to put that into words?" "this is crap. you suck." and "no one will ever want to read that! "

    quite frankly, i hate the little son-of-a-bitch. such a pity there's no such thing as mental duct tape, because he needs a strip of the stuff right over his foul little anthropomorphically personified mouth. he's part of you, so you can never get rid of him. no, the best you can hope for is to keep him busy or shut him up for a little while so you can write in peace.

    maybe tomorow i should work on something else. do some freewrites, maybe a poem, anything but my current project. keep the little bastard confused. it's time to "take the trash out."

    either that, or it's time for me to take my dried frog pills so the voices will go away.
  2. SelfControl

    SelfControl Boned.

    I know the feeling. I have the same problem, albeit more with my music. So far, my degree studies have left me completely incapable of making music that I actually like, let alone like enough to want someone else to hear. Since studying John Cage, I know that music for a purpose or as a demonstration of a principle is pointless; Cage said everything that needs to be said on that matter in 4'33". So the only reason to create is to indulge oneself, irrespective of artistic merit. That's the lesson I drew from it, I just can't quite take it in, I can't assimilate it to the point where I can actually make music for music's sake.

    Less so with literature (perhaps because no-one has ever released a blank book, I don't know), but I feel the same thing; a desire to make something that is just what I want to do, but at the same time a feeling of obligation to myself to make some multi-layered manifesto of brilliance.

    There's no cure beyond lengthy self-mutilation of the personality, but there is a short-term panacea. Alcohol is a factor. A big one.
  3. kidder

    kidder Member

    Kitty, 'the critic' is a sonofabitch but also a good companion. And if 'the critic' in you is tough on you then redirect him. And prosper. In my journal, I do critiques of almost anything and I find writing criticism really rewarding. It is a great thinking activity. And by co-opting the little prick, you get the benefit of revitalization. Try it!
  4. kitty fabulous

    kitty fabulous smoked tofu

    no, i'm not referring to the Editor. although i suppose you could argue that, in a sense, the Editor in really the Critic given some prozac and a very short leash. the Critic i'm referring to is not the one that refines, tosses out whole chapters that you spent months on that are really quite stale, or cobbles two paddages together & rearranges them. no, i'm talking about the mean little fucker who stops you from picking up the pen in the first place.

    it's not a good idea to create and destroy at the same time, although both activities are necessary for quality writing. the Critic doesn't contribute anything useful to either. i usually give him a page or so all to himself when i sit down to work, to get him out of my way. then i'll do the creative writing, freewrites, building on outlines. before i'm done for the session, i'll let the Critic come out again as the Editor, revising older writings or pulling the good bits out of freewrites, but only if he promises to behave himself. for the most part this keeps him under control, but man, when he cathes me off guard he can be a viscious little bastard.

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